July 27, 2012
A new study has confirmed that Botox can be effective in treating another non-cosmetic condition. According to HealthDay News, researchers from Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia have found that the injectable can help alleviate limb tremors in patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Scientists gave injections of both Botox and a placebo to 23 MS patients over a 24-week period. They found that when individuals received the shots containing the Botulinum Toxin Type A, their tremors were eased and they were able to write and draw more effectively.
The most common side effect – experienced by more than 40 percent of patients – was muscle weakness. Experts say that the weakness goes away after a couple of weeks after discontinuing, but could be a problem with long-term Botox treatments for this condition since weak muscles are common among MS sufferers.
Another potential disadvantage of the treatment is the amount of Botox needed in order to produce results. MS patients involved in the study received up to four times as much of the drug as is typical for when it is administered for cosmetic purposes. Additionally, because the effects of Botox are temporary, they would need to be repeated as many as four times each year, at a cost of about $1,000 per injection because of the large amount of medication used each time.
Experts say larger scale studies are necessary to confirm the results and expedite Food and Drug Administration approval. However, MS sufferers who want to pursue the treatment in the U.S. can still do so.
This condition is just one of many that Botox is used to treat. It is commonly used for the treatment of more than 20 conditions including migraine headaches, incontinence and excessive sweating. It is also extremely popular to treat crow’s feet, laugh lines and other wrinkles by temporarily weakening or paralyzing the muscles that cause them.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), Botox has been the most popular cosmetic nonsurgical procedure performed by its members for the last 12 years. In 2011, more than 2.6 million individuals underwent Botox treatments.
Experts say Botox often provides positive cosmetic results with few side effects. However, its effects are not permanent and injections need to be repeated every three to six months for the best results. The average cost per injection is $328, according to ASAPS.
It’s important to note the Botox is just one of several Botulinum Toxin Type A drugs. Other brand names includeDysport, Reloxin and Xeomin. Because there are several options available when it comes to injectable treatments, experts recommend speaking with an ASAPS member physician to discuss your areas of concern, and to hear the options they suggest before making a decision.